what is THE video editing setup?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by crunxy, Nov 14, 2007.

  1. crunxy macrumors newbie


    Nov 14, 2007
    Hello there, I want to buy a workstation to edit hd movies. I'm not rich, no, but dedicated, willing to work hard to buy this baby, any suggestions?

    Never owned a Mac before, I was going to buy a Mac Pro last week, but SOOOO lucky I didn't because now I know to wait for Penryn.

    I need to edit HDV. And I want to end up with a set up where I can edit uncompressed HD (can you edit 4k hd footage on a MacPro?) when the big HD cameras become accessible. Okay, if not that, at least HDV/DVCPRO HD in FCP, with Logic and Shake running smoothly.

    My original intended MP configuration was:
    3GHz core duo
    8Gb Ram (1gb x 8 because 2gb x 4 is 1K more and I am hoping that when technology requires me to have more than 8gs ram I should be able buy a new Mac, no?)
    ATI Radeon 512mb
    Bay 1 750 GB
    2 LCDs and other external hDDS from elsewhere
    (that was before deciding to wait for Penryn,) even then some questions:

    1) do I need a Raid Card? (expensive!) Can I have the 750gb as software, and keep all media/video files on external hardrives (no project would individually have more than 1tb/750gb in storage requirements, yet, so for each project I can just plug and access and do an online edit, or no? is a 2gb ram stick advantages in speed over a 1gb due to its physical make-up?, does a 2gb take up 1 slot? or 2?)
    2) should I fill three other bays with 750gb? (expensive!...but quality) (as above, won't lots and lots of external hardrives do? This would mean endless expansion as there is no link between the media/source drives)
    3) Intensity Card: do I need one? (I am think of a tapless HDD to HDD workflow, so P2 cards/firefire connectsion/portable eg Sony media HDDS, and reviewing on two LCDS, that is all the visual output require for me to edit...)
    4) Get 2 Superdrives? That way I can burn double layer dvds faster?
    5) HD playback/rendering/grading/compositing/sound design...would I be better off with a bigger boot drive so that it runs smoother ie RAID the internal BAYS 1&2 or 1 to 4?
    6) A better graphics card? get RAM from somewhere else? (but I've never opened up a Mac) Where does the RAID card go: if I get it later is it easy to put in? Raid card from somewhere else, any names?
    7) Setup suggestions for new Mac Pros with Penryn?

    Any help would be great thank you :D:D:D
  2. snowleopard macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2007
    If you're planning on shooting or running 4k (Red, Vision Research, etc.) the RAID will almost be essential. I know 1 Red owner, and cutting 4k footage with any transitions effects, superimpositions, etc. is a tremendous resource hog. This applies to RAM as well. On a MacPro, RAM installs in pairs. If I were you, I'd buy two 1gb sticks, running 2gb, minimum to cut HDV. Two 2gb sticks would be better. If your going to shoot/cut 4k, aim for max out or 16gb minimum. If you're looking to RAID for not speed, but safety, then I wouldn't worry about it. Have an external HD with plenty of space for Time Machine (in OSX 10.5, Leopard) for automatic back-up's. Watch the presentation on Apple's main page to see how simple and ingenious it works.

    Don't be afraid of buying HD's from third party vendors, such as OtherWorldComputing, or a G-Raid external. You can get a good deal on 500gb drives these days, which should be enough for HDV.

    If you're planning on buying the Panasonic HVX200, I'd wait until the Sony XDCAM PMW-1 comes out.

    I wouldn't. But if you're planning on the Panasonic or Sony with solid state (tapeless, or shooting a Canon to Firestore, for example), and need archiving, I'd save for when BluRay's are cheaper, or if the Penryn based Mac Pro's come with them, I'd buy.

    I don't think that's going to be a huge issue, assuming you have enough RAM, and the ATI video card. If you're shooting 4k, that's a good question.

    The ATI Raedon is the card to get, or wait and see what's offered next when the Penryn's are released. Buying 3rd party RAM is fine, as long as you buy from a quality third party vendor, and the RAM is the kind that comes with built-in heat sinks.

    Installing RAID cards, or RAM, or HD's, or anything is almost child's play on a Mac. That's what is so nice, open a MacPro, and it's like opening the hood on a 1966 Ford Rambler, one glance, and you can see where everything is, and there's plenty of room to work and get to stuff.

    Wait a week or month until they come out. I'd follow my suggestions above though on RAM and HD's.

    Finally, if you are planning on shooting 4k, may I ask why? What is your delivery medium? Will your work be going to film out? If so, Michael Mann shot most of Collateral and Miami Vice on a 1080p Viper and a CineAlta, and it looked fine. Mel Gibson's Apocalypto was shot on a 2k Genesis. If you're going to DVD, shooting at 1080p or even 720p is over 2x oversampled. Even if you're going to HD-DVD, or on an HDTV, you've still got every pixel covered at shooting 1080p. If you're projecting, most high-end projectors are 720p, or some 1080p, and quality 480p footage (shot on, say, a SDX900) looks great on them. Very few 4k projectors even exist.

    I bring this up because a lot of people are wet in the shorts because of Red's hype, but 95% of those people show their work on DVD's, or the internet, sometimes as low-resolution of delivery as You Tube.
  3. crunxy thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 14, 2007
    CHEERS snowleopard!!!

    WoW, I thought I'd get little snippets of wisdom and would have to mix and match but your one single post answered it all! Thanks!

    The reason I plann to shoot on 4K is simply because there is no reason NOT to shoot on 4K, I don't think digital cinematographers should be held by the mechanical complexities/costs of shooting on the best quality image they can get their hands on...if film production costs and takes so much time...digital intermediate transfers, lab processing, timing, grading, negative costs...we should be able to handle further bundlings of harddrives/raids/more costs on processers...but you are absolutely right. What impacts the most is what you have to say/express/tell...shooting on the mobile phone can have the potential to move and engage as any other medium.
  4. SDAVE macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2007
    Like mentioned, anything you do with uncompressed HD or even uncompressed SD for that matter, you will need a RAID.
    That being said, if you plan to edit HDV (nasty MPEG2 long GOP compression) natively then you will need a really fast Mac Pro. If you stick to ProRes422 (Converting HDV to this codec) in FCP then you can probably get away with a few layers with the 4 Core Mac Pro.
  5. FF_productions macrumors 68030


    Apr 16, 2005
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
  6. Macinposh macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2006

    Havent done that much video myself,so take this with a grain of salt..

    Snowleopard pretty much covered the subject.

    When editing 10/12 bit stuff you need raid. Even with 10 bits you will need over 200MB/s read speeds wich are hard to get with 4 disk software raids. Let alone single disk speeds.
    With the MPs raid card 4 x Hdds you can get more than 300MB/s wich should be enough for 12 bit / 2k.
    For 4k,from what I have heard, you would need a fibrechannel raid or some ATTO expressSAS raids to achieve good enough throughput.
    Wich will cost you your cojones..

    About the blackmagics cards, get one if it really benefits you. And that should sort out after you get your camera.
    Or when you sort out in what kind of surroundings you will be shooting (studio=straight to HDDs via blackmagic or Location= Straigh to tape and transfer).

    So,If I were you I propably would get this kind of setup.

    Macpro : The new one,whenever that comes out. If you are not in a blazing hurry that is. But nothing extra to it.With the basic memory and HDDs. No extra superdrives.Apples Raid card.

    HDD:s = Aftermarket. 4x750 Segates or Hitatchis to the internals slots,link them to raid-0. THEN get a 1TB Hitachi to be placed to the free DVD/CD drive slot via cabling from the 1st free SATA slot on mobo.
    That way you would have a internal raid-0 with a backupdrive for occasions where you would have to get the computer mobile with you to shooting on locations. No need and hassle to carry many external boxes as backup drives.
    From the 2nd free mobos sata slot i would get a eSata cable to the rear.
    Then you could route one external eSata box to it, say,buffalos terastation.

    PCIe card nro.1= 1 card with a 4slot eSata. Say,for the 2GB buffalo tarastations for backup.
    PCIe card nro.2= 1 card , blackmagics Declink HD Pro.
    PCIe card nro.3= Reserved for future use of fiber channel raid...That way you could start to link up with xServes in the future for added computation power.

    Memory = Third party vendors.Obviously. No need to pay 400% extra for apple for the same memory.. 8 to 16GB.

    And about shooting in 4k.
    Well,imho,forget it...for a while.
    While yes,the MP could run it if your material wouldnt be layered and peppered with effects.
    I talked to a local production house manager few days ago. They are waiting for their red to arrive in few weeks. They had managed to get some shooting runs with it and said working on the material will be heavy.
    Talked that getting a setup that can work fluidly with the 12k material will cost close to 100.000$, with all the neccessary backups,routing and servers.
    Other problem is that in many rental studios,the Reds are allready booked for many weeks/months ahead. So,unless you plan to buy one (wich I doubt,as you tought the MPs Raid Card is expensive...;) ) you could face problems to getting one in the first place.
    And you would have to shoot with best possible prime lenses too,renting/insuring them will cost you an arm and leg.

    So,in short, i could think that shooting 2k stuff would be feasible for the next year or two. Untill your clients pay for whatever you want.. :)

    Ps.Starting to build a forementioned setup in next couple of weeks around my old 4x3.00 MP. Stoked!
  7. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020


    Jul 21, 2004
    THE best video editing setup for YOU will always be the best and fastest thing you can afford.
  8. Rowlander macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2007
    RAID-question: How well does the software-Raid work? Will two drives in a RAID 0 give me considerably more spreed or do you really need the RAID-card for a noticeable speed-increase?

    I agree on the 4k-subject: I bought an HDV camcorder a year ago and it is still overkill since most of my current jobs get published on the web. If I had a RED, I would convert the footage to 1080p prores4:2:2, there is no use for 4k yet.

    You wouldn´t lose most of RED´s advantages like depth of field, cinema lenses and color accuracy. The camera shoots a hell of a 1080p picture.
  9. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2006
    Southern California
    Never owned a Mac before, I was going to buy a Mac Pro last week, but SOOOO lucky I didn't because now I know to wait for Penryn.

    I need to edit HDV. And I want to end up with a set up where I can edit uncompressed HD (can you edit 4k hd footage on a MacPro?) when the big HD cameras become accessible. Okay, if not that, at least HDV/DVCPRO HD in FCP, with Logic and Shake running smoothly.

    1. What kind of experience do you have with NLE? Premiere? Vegas? Avid?

    2. If you're new to Mac & are new to NL editing, you've got a heck of a learning curve waiting for you!

    3. Why do you NEED to edit HDV? HDV to 4k is a REALLY big jump. The people that are shooting HDV are not the same people that require the 4k. HDV is not a very nice format to work with for a number of reasons.

    4. Again, what is your method of delivery? Why make your computer run itself into a frenzy making it crunch 4k when it would be a faster workflow to start with much less data?

    5. What is your experience with digital cameras? Your budget may be rather large, but if you don't have the experience to maximize those tools, the limiting factor will be you.

    I'm not flaming, I just don't want to see you spend all of your budget on the tools if you're better off spending some of it on classes/clinics/getting experience.

    If you're not editing already, the RED camera is going to be seriously frustrating for your workflow. Higher priced/end tools do not necessarily make for better end product. They allow for more adjustments so that you can tweak it to get the best shot you want. Unless you just shoot Canon (just kidding).
  10. Rowlander macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2007
    I just wanted to mention, that I wouldn´t recommend Avid to beginners since it is not intuitive at all. (And expensive.) It is less flexible, doesn´t work together with other programs as well. It has a very weird system of applying effects and the software is not meant to do the final soundmix in. Avid´s number one strength is it´s trim-function which I found especially helpful to edit short movies with. It´s very fast and precise at the same time. It´s a different program and feels complicated and stubborn if you are used to something intuitive like Premiere. Overall I didn´t really like working with it even though the trim-function is a blast.

    If you shoot in HDV, you need to edit HDV. I would prefer something better too but that´s what I can afford and makes sense for my jobs. One reason for me to switch to FCS2 is that it has the new ProRes4:2:2 codec. You can set up the software so it renders in this nondestructive codec. You don´t lose any quality. (The original HDV quality is compressed enough as it is.)
    My point is: If you shoot in 4K then edit in 2k or 1080p. 99% of the people won´t see a difference and 99% of the screenings won´t even be in 4K.


    I couldn´t agree more. 4K doesn´t make your picture look any better just because there are more pixels. Great cinematographers can even get a decent image out of 3-chip DV-camcorders.

    Hey, I have a Canon XH A1 and love it! ;) Nothing can beat the value!
  11. crunxy thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 14, 2007
    Dear seany Great Questions thanks mate!
    1. I edit Final Cut Pro, the NLE that I'll be using.
    24.('24' already:)?) I want to see my movies digitally projected, screened, seen in a dark room with lots of people. And to be seen as a showreel on dvd format.
    5. I have shot with the panasonic p2 cameras, various sony cameras

    But you are right. Maybe it is better to spend alot of money on the production than the post, but I want to future-proof my editing system as much as possible. Because I want to keep making movies, I don't want to lag behind when technology catches as it does so exponentially quickly in the last few years.

    But maybe forgo renting the Red for now........hum.......

    And also spending money on..."clinics"????!!! What do you mean?
  12. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    Classes on cinematography, etc.

    (I believe)
  13. sblasl macrumors 6502a


    Apr 25, 2004
    Heber Springs, AR
    check out the web site HD for Indies. Mike, who runs the site is very familiar with the RED, FCP, and everything else about setting up workflows and what Mac equipment to use. Very good site.
  14. crunxy thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 14, 2007
    My sincere thanks Macinposh.

    I am seriously considering getting the RAID CARD and 3rd party RAM after reading your post.

    You are right. I keep forgetting that Lenses are vital for motion image capturing. Okay. So I can't afford to shoot on a Red maybe...But the technology is here. IS HERE. That's good. That's real good. Isn't it?

    And best of all luck for your setup hey? Let us know how it goes on your MP!
  15. crunxy thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 14, 2007
    Thank you Rowlander!!!

    Why don't all digital cameras have like what Canon offers, interchangeable lenses? I am editing on Final Cut Pro. Best choice :)
  16. deathshrub macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2007
    Christmas Island
    Actually, the RAID card installation is supposedly very involved, and requires removing all hard drive bays, fans, and the cover of the processors. Installing RAM or new hard drives in the Mac Pro is incredibly easy due to its design, but RAID cards are a different story.
  17. FF_productions macrumors 68030


    Apr 16, 2005
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
  18. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2006
    Southern California
    Hi Crunxy,

    It sounds like you want to make HD movies. It also sounds like you want to be involved from beginning to end. I certainly hope you are dedicated and willing to work hard. Because you will. We certainly wish you the best. Please remember us when you get your little bald guy (I'm not being sarcastic).

    Get the next Gen MP with 16GBs of RAM and best GPU for editing. Storage and capture cards will fall into place when you figure out what camera you're using and how the film will be delivered (What is a showreel on DVD format?) How are you planning to monitor your HD footage by the way?

    Spend as much time as you can with your camera/s. I've seen great short films shot on a single GL2, and we've all seen studio backed disasters.

    How you tell your story, how your story is shot, lighting, angles, casting, the quality of the original script... is the content you will work with in post.

    No matter how you edit garbage... it's still garbage (just put in a different order with nice effects to distract you from how bad it really is).

    Just remember that the editing comes at the END of the production. Unless your budget is wickedly large, reshooting is often NOT an option.

    The REALLY hard work takes place before the first frame is captured. The planning, storyboarding, logistics, casting, scouting and acquiring locations...

    Then you have to deal with cast issues, the sun and weather not doing what you want, crew issues, equipment issues, going over budget...

    Production is NOT about making a movie. It's about making a movie despite all the issues involved with making a movie. Your planning will be put to the test.

    Post is almost a fully controlled environment in comparison to production.

    Editing is the EASY part.
  19. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2004

    $699 for 16gigs Omni Technologies RAM at RAMseeker.com
  20. Masher500 macrumors member


    Sep 12, 2006
    Dana Point
    Dude i would buy right now if i knew that it would be the same RAM that will be in the newest MP revision.
  21. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2004
    I would be disappointed if Apple stayed with 667Mhz RAM/1333Mhz FSB instead of going up to faster 800Mhz RAM/1600Mhz FSB that the top-of-the-line Harpertowns are running. However, from what I hear, the 800Mhz RAM isn't that much more than the 667 sticks. So that's promising.

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